BEHIND THE CURTAINS
(Continuation of THE PERPETUAL GIFT Semanawak Part Four)
By Natalia Lucia Aguilar Gaona
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
loving someone deeply gives you courage.
The expression on my mother’s face when her cousins asked her; why did Lucia end up living with her father? She put on the face of an actress, a child pretending to be innocent and clueless. I gave her the opportunity to say the truth, but she knew deep down inside, that she would have to admit her plan had backed fired, that covering up and mishandling of my sister's overdose was careless. Hiding the truth never works, especially from yourself.
What really happened?
That night by explaining the egregious dilemma, to my uncles, a devastating profusion of details opened up avenues, that had nearly escaped from my memory. As I recall correctly we were not alone, there were perverted forces lurking constantly in the background. I know now that experiments of extermination grew all around us, while some positive thinkers love to label people with paranoid or schizophrenic personalities, the evidence has finally surfaced for all who remember unusual activity in their suburb in the early 70’s. Just the amount of companies and factories of weapons of mass destruction that were situated right there around the corner from our home, and not to mention the endless drilling for oil on every mile across southern California. The daily dose of toxic fumes from millions of cars laid a thick blanket of poison.
Also it was no secret the numbing effect of affluence, that came with the artificial TV culture pumped into our homes and displayed in fancy Malls all over the world. This was a period in time when our family basked in light of economic success: we lived in a beautiful house in the upper middle class, two working adults, my father was well educated, he drove a Volvo sport car and Caroline stopped sewing our cloths, she found a job at huge distribution company, delighted to buy nice stuff for herself and us.
While revisiting the past, I could perceive how each decision was taken; starting by Victoria’s overpowering need to emulate her favorite rock stars, people all over the world were growing stupidly self-indulged and delusional. Till this day sociologist work overtime to downplay the financial entities funding money to produce TV content, movies, and the development of a fictitious “Counter Culture”. Thus, we were indoctrinated fans; swimming in an ocean of wannabees “Rock’n roll stars”. Infested communities of well to do families were unaware of the accumulated consequences; grownups ran faster to pay their credit cards, while quietly drowning in loneliness.
Shall we explore the not so obvious actors behind the scenes:
Why were our parents so disengaged?
How did the pressure to succeed at all cost enter into our schools?
Parents simply took on very little responsibility, "get money, pay bills," was all they needed. They were convinced they had no other (moral) obligation of any kind, their religion was “Cash equals wealth”. Immoral means of subsistence became justified, crude harassment, wars and indentured slavery. Most people following the soap operas also nagged at their kids to make a career by clawing up the latter of an elusive success, that brought a landslide of psychological demands for the next generation. Be independent so you can party, party and then party some more.
People in the middle class, purchase a car and a monthly insurance, drive to that job they hate, so someday they can fly to another county and find a mate. Yet, they tend to stay single expand their hunting ground, always eager for a better mate. Another demand for the over forty crowd: travel two or three times a year, they hardly sleep, because they might die under the weight of their own flabbiness they stay alert for that special call to success or to party… by then the only real party invitation they might get, is from one of their own family member or another toddler’s parent. Which at first might seem like a really good way to get a free meal and to escape from the routine of mowing the lawn or doing laundry. But they end up miserable, comparing themselves to the other guests, or the home, or the sophisticated lifestyle that clashes with them, but refuels the urge to get plastic surgery etc.
Were we governed by emotionally impaired bureaucrats?
Perhaps all those demands were carefully crafted “lures” to spend all our hard earned cash on cheap thrills, part of an insidious tax revenue excuse, dressed as “prosperity”. Our collective wiliness to deny the atrocious side effects along with the collateral damage to our planet was perfectly concealed. The self-induced paralysis was nothing more than cancerous venom, exuding from multi-morphing parasite, posing as a harmless being that actually enjoyed reducing us into heaps of human corpses.
I still believe that some kind of miracle occurred; because we barely survived both Caroline’s shameless quest for money and our father’s personal mania for knowledge and power? They both achieved their goals, at the expense of others and lived permanently dissatisfied.
Caroline well into her eighties became so stingy, that she hated spending any of her money, her distrust and obsession left her with no real friends, just a handful of acquaintances who she calls to boost about, her childhood stories.
My father took on a third wife thirty-five years younger than him, again a symbol of his never ending virtue calling in a world of artificial testosterone. Men confuse influence with power, it is not the same. When you have power, your naturally humble as a byproduct. The intellectually dominated exclude any notion of empathy, he wanted and needed other men to feel envious; to show the world that a young gal was attracted to him, this somehow made him an outstanding person, perhaps a rudimentary instinct of preservation? The social engineers were of course pulling all the primitive strings leaving him the scars of irreparable ridicule.
Why do men amass power to control the destiny of others?
So why destroy others in a senseless war against life itself?
Whether we try to make sense or not, the facts point to several aspects of our poor judgment, these devastating habitats everywhere we find people too busy to “be available or responsible”. They and most innocent teenagers become lost in preconceived dreams of happiness or affections, clicking away on instant; easy to use applications, totally adjusted to commercial endeavors.
My parents were obviously running away from interacting with their inconvenient offspring, constructing a fictional family neatly abdicating their parental responsibility bestowed onto an overrated educational system; the promise of higher standards, luxurious suburban lifestyle and the self-regulating dreamland of appearances.
Recalling those memories let my uncles understand that things weren’t going well in my parents’ marriage, and that their apparent success was based pretending or role-playing while hiding from each other. My sister Victoria took things a step further, because she was hungry for attention, just to add flavor to our monotonous existence, her intoxication triggered a series of consequences that tore the family apart. Unknown to us there were secret agents peddling drugs to unsuspecting kids. These malignant entrepreneurs were financed to derail aspiring teenagers and their emergent families. What really took place in the 1970’s, was an undeniable flushing of the lovely American dream into cesspool of abysmal proportions. The second thing that stood out to me was the absence of gifted people in our lives; eager to expose and put a stop to the villains and their hideous irresponsibility.
After the divorce, it never occurred to think about my sister's addiction, or about my mother’s missing money, I was just a ghost following orders to keep the peace, when in their pathetic presence. Sharing the bedroom with Victoria stretched back to when we were toddlers, she enjoyed harassing me with her story; "that I wasn’t family, i was found in the trash and that I was adopted," at that early age she burned my first doll’s hair on the stove, as a warning... as she celebrated laughing her malignant deed. Now that I ponder about our toxic environment: I remember the thick layer of smog looming everywhere, toxins from lead add to mysteriously to the gasoline, monoxide poison covered the vast Los Angeles County.
Why the hate? Didn’t Victoria have a heart? Of course after years of trying to understand why nothing I did or said was never taken seriously, if I dared to complain about Victoria, Caroline would say; “Stop being so dramatic, Victoria is just jealous of you”. How could Caroline say that to a five year old child? Why should Victoria be jealous of me in the first place? Why did she believe that? Perhaps we were all physically damaged and unable to digest the nonsense.
In perspective after carefully analyzing things; Caroline was secretly “jealous” of both her daughters, she wished she was our age, in our shoes standing at the threshold of some imaginary promise land. Caroline was not prepared to become older or stay married to an intellectual hermit, so she sabotaged the marriage. The fact that Victoria was a gorgeous well developed fourteen-year-old coming of age, was all it took; her daily presence became an unconscious obsession, we were obstacles in her path to success. Our puberty was totally ignored, we received no advice on how to conduct ourselves in social gatherings. We had no idea which was the proper attitude around young men, we were feral teenagers, most of the time a pair of giggling idiots, not allowed to express any opinions at home, let alone the truth of what we witnessed, restrained from mingling with others in the hallways or classroom, we had no social interaction.
Caroline wanted to be a permanent child, she refused to take responsibility. Perhaps, with knowing, (and this is my point she never took time to know herself) most of her life my sister and I had been rivals all along... I realize that may be the reason she makes no friends, is because all women are her rivals.
Once we were invited to a wedding in Mexico City, I was helping my grandmother to get dressed, I must have been nine or ten, when suddenly Caroline stormed into the room to scold us, because I was taking too long to hook up my granny's full-length bra, my granny had big breasts and wanted her gown to look nice but, Caroline lashed out at her saying; “Really mom at you age, no one cares how you look!” She was fifty-five not at all, old or decrepit. I felt my heart sink, embarrassed by Caroline’s ugly behavior, my granny aged dramatically thereafter. It wasn’t obvious to me back then, just how toxic her presence really was learning lately that "faking" was natural a narcissistic characteristic; in front of strangers she’d typically act as the perfect mother, she would brag; how we were her precious daughters, but behind closed doors we were detested and willfully ignored, Caroline never lost in her imaginary competition.
Those preteen age years living with a unhappy Victoria, who kept hogging the record player with her loud English rock bands; songs dispersing incoherent, contorted and frantic idleness, dazzled along with all the other wannabe superstars, her ambition was; "Be famous", measured by the fictional standards of celebrities, the reason why karaoke bars and restaurants have become successful partying places all over the world, it is because it's safe environment to nurture the secret pathology of "adorableness".
We lived through the artificial construct of pop music that was stolen from African slaves. Our radios were feed a watered down, fake version of a sorry-ass emulation. The unequivocal disrespect to all ancient world cultures; specially Africans who's profound soulful sense lives on despite centuries of oppression. Those predatory recording companies exploited black musicians, the Anglo-Saxons usurped the rhythms; denied the dignification of jazz, blues or even hip hop that grew from the hearts of black composers and singers. We grew up in a time when young people oppose segregation, the war in Vietnam, my generation was aware of the injustice, the hypocrisy, the window dressing; the poisoning of our schools, till this day some of wear the scorn across our face for all to see.
People were bought off or eliminated, the post hippie movement pretended to be in opposition to what? Nothing, the era of nothingness was ushered in; dress to shock, degrade and obliterate yet another generation of well-fed middle class citizens. While a group business men took to promoting rhythm and blues, our sentimental songs built the sounds of Motown starlets, I waited patiently for Victoria to leave the room, so I could to play my Aretha Franklin, Smoky Robinson and Diana Ross singles…
BEHIND OUR BACKS
My parents like thousands of other young families of the 70’s, were not aware of the army of drug peddlers moving all over the un-united states, hidden in the suburbs, nor did we have any kind of relationship with our neighbors, because our early education warned us to be distrustful and to treat people as relentless competition. Every State started funding prisons because crimes kept rising. In 1977, I worked at the Los Angeles probation office and discovered that we had the highest crime rate in the world, everything was being criminalized yet in almost every police department there was a tiny group of "officers" crafting crimes, incarcerating innocent bystanders. Why? The answer is always money, not for you or me, its to feed the starving armies of zombies... And for those in stuck in the gig economy we can look forward to new shitty jobs!
Yes everyone in the US drove around in their little bubble, listening to the radio oblivious to the grief of parents losing their youngsters from overdosing, morphing into the current opioid epidemic, week after week; thousands quietly disappeared from the classroom. Cults started appearing, we were all vulnerable. My father was hooked on Valium for as long as I can remember, while he never spoke his about anxiety, we all shared his constant state of fear and emotional instability. It’s no wonder why Victoria never regarded her own addictions as problematic. The presence of those drug pushers was deliberately masked, yet the tension was in the air; danger was real, until Victoria was taken to the hospital and I knew she was not alone, yet we had learned to ignored each other, to compete with unacquainted students, to pretend to be successful, to be ridiculous, to show off our newly acquired status to our neighbors and relatives.
The gift was gone or suppressed, art was for laundering money or hoarding. Food was cheap, everything had to be about making a profit. No one dared to value principals,.in its place, tons of airbrushed sexualized imagery were portrayed in magazines, billboards, ugly advertising smothered people everywhere. the TV era of sitcoms bombarded families as people turned away from local socializing, to a leap into the indulgences, “fixing ourselves” with surgeries and artifacts to emulate the idealized aspirations projected on the big and small screens, "soap operas" sponsored by Procter and Gamble telling us how wonderful it is NOT to wash you own diapers, pay for hygiene products, casting away all the plastic bottles and wrappings, hardworking people trapped in the hoax.
Competition and constant comparison was meant to destroy family ties, and it did. The people running the drug pushers must have been at least forty or fifty but they acted like four-year-olds; why did they need to destroy families? The suburbs were flooded with cheap drugs and marijuana, why speak up, to who? Police had a quota to fill; traffic tickets to issue, forfeiture, arresting as many Latino or black men they could find, legal prison labor comps; killed manufacturing, employment and fair business. In a land of the wicked, no one is ruler for long.
The giant corporations were casting lunacy in all directions; as the state of collective excitement was to be perpetrated at all cost. The political clansmen became the leaders of idiocy, one continual breast beating contest. California elected governor Ronald Reagan, (this was no accident) he was a mediocre actor, but an excellent liar. Since then most people holding office are script readers. All the roads, airways and marine ports, countries near and far where under control for profit only.
Movie equipment and production was very expensive yet hundreds of films, TV, animation programs and comedic garbage targeted vulnerable minds of children and immigrants all over the world, still unable to make sense of this consumerism hell.
While I was only sixteen, I noticed how out of nowhere people were required to print and copy everything, what a waste of paper. The logging industry with the help IBM and Xerox copiers, these machines where in every government office, schools and universities, again for even bigger profits. The disposable nation brought forth; mountains of paper and toxic trash. People were bombarded by manufactured impulses, never allowed to question the quality of life; air and water pollution was deadly, the sky had turned to different shades of smog, destabilizing any form of relationship to our food, earth or cosmos. The plan was well designed to subvert human power with the illusion of money by inducing psychosis crossing the threshold to the living dead.
My mother was a zombie before she married, while my father He speeded away in his sport car, emotionally and physically abandoned his family to pursue other unsustainable urge; to bask in the limelight of academic entitlement, and flaunt another trophy wife, were all a byproduct of not so instant false gratification., he consumed his time studying a master clinical psychology, later got a PhD. the only path academics must aspire.
I remember reading in our bathroom numerous science magazines, findings (not much more than regurgitated opinions with low rate plausibility) lavishly edited just to give the reader a veneer or false sense of superiority.
Published August, 2021
(story continues in Semanawak Part Five)